The Report, April 29, 2002, Guest Column, p. 40
Andrea Yates notwithstanding, serious domestic violent crime remains a mostly male activity
By Jeff White
A horrific spate of child murders just happened to coincide with Andrea Yates' trial last month for drowning her five children in the bath.
David Phillips thinks that may be no coincidence. The University of California sociologist has spent decades combing through old newspapers and death certificates in search of statistical evidence for a hypothesis: that reading news reports of the suicide of Marilyn Monroe, or her ilk, gives other depressed souls the idea (or "permission") to do the same. After discovering a suicide spike in the days following such a report. Prof. Phillips went one better with this claim; that reports of murder-suicides can prompt desperate drivers to send themselves and their passengers hurtling to "accidental" doom on the highways.
So is he impressed that the killing of six children in British Columbia (plus the father's attempted suicide), the killing of a family of five in Oregon (plus the father's suicide), the killing of five children in California (plus the father's attempted suicide), not to mention a couple more child killings in Toronto, all coincided with the massively publicized trial of Yates (who had earlier attempted suicide twice)? As befits a long-time believer that monkey see, monkey do, he says there's enough evidence to warrant further investigation.
Although Prof. Phillips' findings remain-unproven and controversial, they have been taken seriously enough to have changed journalistic practices. Subway suicides in Vienna dropped 75% after newspapers there were persuaded to stop publicizing them. Toronto and Montreal papers now do the same.
In a similar vein, University of Alberta psychologist Dick Sobsey argued again this month (reported in this magazine Sept. 24, 2001) that sympathetic media reports of the 1994 trial of a Saskatchewan farmer for killing his disabled daughter sparked a transient but significant spike in the killing of children.
Sympathetic reports about child-killing may prove harder to suppress than subway news stories, however. Many of the newspaper items friendly to Robert Latimer were produced by readers as letters to the editor. Moreover, ancient attitudes aren't easily eradicated, and hostility to infirm children is about as ancient as they get. One survey of 35 cultures from around the world found that 21 of them killed deformed or sickly children. Plato, Aristotle and the Romans positively demanded the destruction of disabled children. Only Christians didn't approve of it.
Even in 19th-century Britain, crowded with well-filled churches though it was, jurors refused to convict mothers of the capital crime of killing their little ones. Faced with juries who would rather acquit than hang (the last mother to go to the rope died in 1849), lawyers created the non-capital offence of infanticide in 1922. The provision was later imported by Canada and remains in our Criminal Code to this day.
This long-standing sympathetic treatment of mothers doesn't sit well with some commentators. The Daily Standard and the Globe and Mail asked why Adair Garcia got a tiny fraction of Yates' news coverage, though he killed five of his children the day after her trial started.
The brutal fact is that stories like Adair's are a dime a dozen, while Yates' is not. Journalists still seek rarity, along the proverbial lines of man biting dog. Men have always specialized in wholesale killing of older children, often to visit revenge upon straying or separating wives.
In contrast, mothers' killing is heavily biased toward the younger tots, continuing the prehistoric tradition of infanticide as the oldest method of reproductive control. If we ignore the one-in-four children now killed by their mothers in the womb through abortion, a Statistics Canada graph shows a steady decline in maternal killing in all other age groups, versus a steady increase in paternal killing. The sex ratio hits 17 maternal killers to 85 paternal ones when it comes to the destruction of 12- to 17-year-olds.
It's not even true any more that the statistics for all age groups show equal numbers of killer mothers and fathers, as a Globe writer recently claimed. Since the legalization of abortion, mothers' share of parental homicide has dropped to 40%.
The role of revenge in paternal killing is highlighted by the statistics on "familicide"the killing of a spouse and one or more minor children. Over a 23-year period, note Martin Daly and Margo Wilson of McMaster University, men committed 61 such crimes in Canada, Women committed none.
This phenomenon poses a problem for the two Darwinian-minded psychologists, who assume individuals of all species act to maximize their reproductive success. Killing a wife or child can hardly do that, even if a man doubts her faithfulness or its paternity.
Professors Daly and Wilson argue that family homicide is the dysfunctional tip of the iceberg of "proprietary jealousy"the dominating behaviour men use to keep the reproductive resources of women away from their male competitors. The Right doubts the very existence of this particular iceberg, claiming that similar numbers of men and women indulge in spousal abuse. But when it comes to actual physical injury at the hands of spouses, StatsCan finds 276,000 Canadian women became victims in the most recent five years, versus 69,000 men.
The horrors of the Yates trial shouldn't obscure that fact, The reality of wife abuse is far more common, and is not, as some claim, neatly gender-balanced.
Jeff White is a Toronto freelancer.
April 29, 2002 The Report
Copyright © 2002 United Western Communications Ltd.
All Rights Reserved.
I guess that if we are to take Jeff White's word for it, all men are beastly brutes, but he appears to have been neatly suckered by StatCan's biased editorializing of their domestic violence statistics.
In August of 2000, Eeva Sodhi, an active campaigner to get StatCan on the straight and narrow with more objective reporting and off their addiction to feminist-biased reporting especially of their domestic violence statistics, wrote a very detailed critique of the very same StatCan report Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2000 Cat. no. 85-224 that seems to be the one that contained all of the traps that Jeff White very clearly stepped into, one by one.
See Eeva Sodhi's comments. It's important that you do, to understand how and how well StatCan's propaganda tactics work even on seasoned journalists. If even they get suckered, what chances to learn the truth about domestic violence will the average Joe reading the newspapers or watching the news have? Don't forget that every man or woman, every child, gets bombarded with the propagandistic slander by feminists of men, day-in, day-out, for more than 30 years now. Although the intentions of the sources of that steady deluge of misinformation are evil, the intentions of most people who then promote it are not necessarily bad, most often merely based on misinformation and on the belief that they are doing the right thing.
(and other) social engineers (male and female) determine what StatCan will present and how, the media prepare the news as they see it from the ingredients that StatCan provides, and the vast majority of the general public then swallow it, hook-line-and-sinker, because they think that once it's in print or on the idiot box, it must be true
There's a big difference in quality between firmly believing what is ostensibly the truth and knowing what the absolute truth really is. Read Eeva Sodhi's analysis and you'll be in the know about domestic violence propaganda tactics and how StatCan makes them work well:
Family Violence Canada 2000 An Alternative Approach
by Eeva Sodhi, 2000 08 31
The White Rose
Thoughts are Free